Cover image for Back to the astronomy cafe : more questions and answers about the cosmos from "Ask the Astronomer".
Back to the astronomy cafe : more questions and answers about the cosmos from "Ask the Astronomer".
Odenwald, Sten F.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xii, 273 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
The worlds greatest hits! -- The earth and moon : our cosmic home -- The sun : our day star -- The solar system : living in the 'hood -- The stars : celestial cities of light -- The universe : all that is, was or will be -- The cosmos : a matter of extreme gravity -- The invisible : darkness and cosmic destiny -- The unthinkable : questions no one thought to ask -- Nuts and bolts : space travel and elementary physics.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB52 .O35 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



How fast does gravity travel? When will the sun go nova? Who invented the light year? Will we ever travel to the stars? These are just some of the unusual and popular questions NASA astronomer Sten Odenwald answers in 'Back to the Astronomy Cafe', based on his award-winning website "for the astronomically disadvantaged." Since his acclaimed earlier book 'The Astronomy Cafe' published in 1998, the space community has been turned on its head with entirely new discoveries: ion propulsion, dark matter, gravity and magnetic reversals, the Cosmic Dark Ages, and over 100 new planets. In the all-new 'Back to the Astronomy Cafe', Odenwald answers the latest and most-asked questions relating to these recent discoveries. His highly personal and authoritative style makes understanding the cosmos less intimidating, exciting, and fun.Since he opened his website "The Astronomy Cafe" in 1995, Odenwald has answered over 50,000 e-mailed questions. His individual answers have been downloaded over 7.5 million times, making him the most sought-after "answer man" for astronomy in human history.

Author Notes

Sten Odenwald an award-winning astronomer with Raytheon ITSS, is currently the education and public outreach manager for the NASA IMAGE satellite program. The author of 'The Astronomy Cafe' and 'The 23rd Cycle', Sten Odenwald writes a regular on-line question-and-answer column called "Ask the Space Scientist" for the 'Washington Post', and is a frequent contributor 'Sky and Telescope' and 'Astronomy' magazines. He is the recipient of the 1999 Goddard Space Flight Center Excellence in Outreach Award and the Popular Writing Award from the American Astronomical Society, Solar Physics Division. He lives in Kensington, MD.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Meticulously researched by the education and public outreach manager for the NASA IMAGE satellite program, this question-and-answer book of astronomy, complete with pictures, timetables and a "glossary of annoying terms," provides explanations for many phenomena regarding the sun, moon, Earth and beyond. Odenwald occasionally waxes poetic, writing, for instance, that our world is "a cosmos where every shining star sports a discoverable retinue of worlds to explore." The well-informed amateur will reap much informative detail from this follow-up to the author's original The Astronomy Cafe, based on his popular Web site, but those who are getting their feet wet for the first time may feel that the explanations assume too much prior knowledge. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Choice Review

This book is a successor to Odenwald's The Astronomy Cafe (CH, Nov'98); in some ways, this is the more interesting of the two books. Like its predecessor, it is written in the form of questions and answers, usually a single paragraph in length. The range of the questions is wide, perhaps wider than those of the first book, and will interest a wider readership. The textual matter is followed by several tables, of which the longest and surely most fascinating is table 8, "The Cosmic Timeline." In it, the author records events in astronomy, physics, and other sciences from the big bang of 13.7 billion years ago, to the present and into the extreme future. The future predictions include many prophecies by science fiction writers as well as estimates based on current science. Of interest to anyone with a smattering of astronomy and an interest in individual facts, the book swings over the entire field in largely random order. A few typos are present and the index is skimpy, but the book will make a nice addition to the library of any astronomer. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through graduate students; two-year technical program students. A. R. Upgren emeritus, Wesleyan University